As some readers might remember, we spent a few years moving a tad more than the average family. While we put a firm end to this in 2020, with a final move to our “forever” home, the furniture surplus that our moves created was starting to get out of hand. Furniture has an uncanny knack for finding me.
You could say it runs in the family. This habit of, um, acquisitions is a generational thing. My grandparents had a furniture store. My mother is a connoisseur of fine antiques. Some people are experts at accounting; I can pick out an 18th century fruitwood buffet deux corps with the original finish from across a crowded room, and thanks to my mom, I know what it’s called and how to price it.
Enter Mockingbird Manor. In 2019, before pandemics and moves and babies grew up so fast, the furniture in my, ahem, collection, had amassed such volume as it was necessary to, um, redistribute it. My mom, Mimi, had maintained a booth at a local high-end dealer space for almost 20 years. Back in OKC to stay, I inquired about a space within the walls of the quirkiest old duplex on North Western.
And as they say, the rest is history. My space at Mockingbird Manor has enabled me to dive headfirst into my love for home.
This isn’t a new passion—it’s just one I haven’t talked about much before. Having cut my teeth on museums and thrifiting, I’ve always enjoyed the thrill of the hunt. I’m typically drawn to “anything 19th century”, but my collection of antique textiles, fabrics, and wallpaper fragments has grown considerably in recent years.
This past spring, our family was in California. We stopped in a thrift store where I saw a gorgeous burl wood Biedermeier secretary crammed in the far corner of a dusty backroom and priced like a song. I should have rented a uHaul. I didn’t. But finding that piece reminded me that antiques are something I’m good at, and something I love.
The craftsmanship fascinates. And after years of the everything-looks-the-same farmhouse trend, fall-apart fast furniture, and the democratization of design, I love seeing the return of appreciation for old things, quality lines, real wood, deep carvings. I love the hallmarks of fine furniture that tell the provenance of each piece, and I love hearing about others who are learning about different eras, styles, and cabinetmakers. I love thinking through the stories each piece tells; I wonder how many wars it’s seen, how many children it’s helped, how many hands lovingly stewarded it, replacing upholstery or covering scratches. I always say patina is my favorite color—and I think I like that idea because with patina comes provenance.
I could talk about my love of antiques for hours! But back to Mockingbird Manor… would you like to take a little tour?